As the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 edges ever closer, we detail each side’s path to the knockout stage, selecting key moments, players and stats. 

We continue our delve into the 16 teams with a look at Sale Sharks… 

Path to the Round of 16 

An impressive first-half performance at Ospreys meant Sale got off to a winning start in Pool A as Rohan Jense van Rensburg, Ewan Ashman and Jean-Luc du Preez all dotted down for a 21-13 win at the Stadium. 

Alex Sanderson’s men would then have to wait over a month for their next Pool A game after their home tie to ASM Clermont Auvergne was cancelled due to COVID-19 guidelines and was therefore recorded as a 0-0 draw. 

In the return fixture, Sale succumbed to a 25-19 defeat at Stade Marcel-Michelin after two late penalties from Clermont’s Morgan Parra.  

Sale then finished off their pool stage campaign with a 49-10 bonus-point win over Ospreys – scoring no fewer than seven tries at the AJ Bell Stadium as they secured fifth position in the standings. 

Key moment 

In what was a dominant performance at home to Ospreys, Sale showed their quality and exactly why they are contenders for this season’s Heineken Champions Cup when Jack Metcalf finished off a brilliant team try. 

 The score, Sale’s seventh of the game, included a series of offloads – which featured a nonchalant effort from lock Lood de Jager – before Metcalf took control to score his first try in a European competition.  

Key player 

Back-rower Ben Curry was in fine form throughout the pool stage for Sale, with the 23-year-old currently fourth for the most tackles made (44) in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup.   

Curry has also had a hand in Sale’s attacking play this season, as he secured a terrific turnover against Ospreys, resulting in an Aaron Reed score for Sanderson’s men. 

Key stats 

  • Tom Roebuck has dotted down three times in the Heineken Champions Cup this season. Only Exeter Chiefs’ Sam Simmonds (7), Harlequins’ Alex Dombrandt (6), and Leinster duo Jimmy O’Brien (5) and Josh van der Flier (4) have more.  
  • Lood de Jager is currently third for most lineouts won (20) in the Heineken Champions Cup this season.  
  • Only four players secured more turnovers than de Jager (4) in this season’s pool stage. 

Round of 16 opponents 

Sale will face Bristol Bears in the last 16, welcoming their fellow Gallagher Premiership side to the AJ Bell Stadium on April 9, before heading to Ashton Gate for the second leg on April 15.